Monday, March 6, 2017

Video: 5G is Starting to Happen

5G was front and center at this year's Mobile World Congress, but for all of the talk about autonomous driving, connected living, etc,  the first real application of 5G is likely to be fixed wireless access, says Dan Warren, Hear of 5G Research for Samsung's R&D Institute. Much of the activity for 5G fixed wireless access is taking place in the 28 GHz band.

See video:

IBM Plans Quantum Capability for the Cloud

IBM is launching an initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems that would be be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform.

As a first step, the company is releasing an API for the IBM Quantum Experience that enables developers and programmers to begin building interfaces between its existing five quantum bit (qubit) cloud-based quantum computer and classical computers, without needing a deep background in quantum physics. Later this year, IBM plans to release a full SDK (Software Development Kit) on the IBM Quantum Experience for users to build simple quantum applications and software programs.

“Classical computers are extraordinarily powerful and will continue to advance and underpin everything we do in business and society. But there are many problems that will never be penetrated by a classical computer. To create knowledge from much greater depths of complexity, we need a quantum computer,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of IBM Systems. “We envision IBM Q systems working in concert with our portfolio of classical high-performance systems to address problems that are currently unsolvable, but hold tremendous untapped value.”

Crehan: Branded Data Center Ethernet Switch Revenue Tops $10B in '16

Branded data center Ethernet switch sales exceeded $10 billion in 2016, according to the latest report from Crehan Research Inc.  The report notes that this revenue level, a record, was accompanied by the strongest market growth rate since 2013.

“2016 was a strong year for data center Ethernet switching, with robust customer spending on public, private and hybrid clouds," said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “40GbE and 100GbE switches were the main market drivers, with a total of over one billion dollars in revenue growth. However, 40GbE data center switch spending softened in the second half of the year, while spending on 100GbE continued to increase throughout the year."

In addition to the strong top-level revenue performance, notable results from Crehan’s data center switch report include:

  • 25GbE shipments ramped exponentially during 2016, exceeding a one-and-a-half million annual port run-rate by 4Q16, driven mostly by Cisco’s Cloud Scale Nexus 9000 series 
  •  100GbE shipments increased dramatically throughout the year, also surpassing a one-and-a-half million annual port run-rate by 4Q16, with data center switches from Arista and Cisco accounting for most of the year’s volume 
  • 10GBASE-T data center switch shipments increased more than 60% for the full year 2016  Cisco accounted for over half of total branded data center Ethernet switch revenues in 2016 
  • Arista, Huawei and Juniper all saw data center switch revenue increases in excess of 30% in 2016, resulting in share gains  
  • The top-line 2016 average selling price per data center switch port was almost identical to that of 2015  

“The total market average selling price remained remarkably stable in 2016, despite factors such as intense data center switch competition and the price negotiating power of the large hyper-scale cloud customers," Crehan said. "Migration to higher speeds and strong adoption of modular switching were key factors in the stability.”

Salesforce Signs Onto IBM Watson

IBM and Salesforce announced a global strategic partnership for leveraging artificial intelligence in business decisions.

Under the deal, IBM Watson, the leading AI platform for business, and Salesforce Ein
stein, AI that powers the world’s #1 CRM, will seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more.

IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services capabilities for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

“Within a few years, every major decision—personal or business—will be made with the help of AI and cognitive technologies,” said Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and chief executive officer, IBM. “This year we expect Watson will touch one billion people—through everything from oncology and retail to tax preparation and cars. Now, with today's announcement, the power of Watson will serve the millions of Salesforce and Einstein customers and developers to provide an unprecedented understanding of customers."

"The combination of Einstein and Watson will make businesses smarter and our customers more successful," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “I'm thrilled to form an alliance with IBM—no company’s core values are as close to Salesforce’s as IBM’s. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Vodafone Selects Juniper Contrail SDN

Juniper Networks announced at MWC 2017 that it has been selected as a Vodafone Global Approved Vendor for its Contrail Networking software-defined networking (SDN) solution, which will help the operator to develop new, user-driven and flexible business services for customers.

Juniper noted that Contrail Networking is an open, flexible SDN solution designed to provide automation and orchestration for scalable virtual networks, which can help operators such as Vodafone to leverage the cloud to deliver services, enhance business agility and increase revenue.

During MWC, Juniper hosted a presentation of VPN+ as a showcase Vodafone's multi-vendor mobile VPN services portfolio, which constitutes a key part of the Vodafone Ocean Transformation program to virtualise its networks launched last year.

The demonstration featured VPN+ use cases including SD-WAN, service chaining, on-demand services, virtual cloud-hosted services and universal, virtualised CPE. VPN+ services are designed to leverage a customer portal that allows users to select, change and provision services.

Separately, Juniper announced at MWC the availability of a carrier-grade cloud solution designed to allow the rapid implementation of mobile subscriber service virtual networks functions (VNFs). The solution combines Affirmed Networks Mobile Content Cloud virtualised evolved packet core solution (vEPC) with Juniper's Contrail Networking solution and the Netronome Agilio SmartNICs.

The solution integrates the Juniper Contrail Networking SDN solution with Affirmed Networks MCC vEPC offering probe, analytics, WiFi gateways (TWAG, ePDG), Gi-LAN services, service orchestration and IoT services, and Netronome's Agilio SmartNIC 10/25/40 Gigabit Ethernet platforms that offloads virtual switch and router datapath processing for networking functions to reduce CPU load.

Angola Cables Deploys Ciena on MONET Subsea Cable

Ciena announced that Angola Cables, a wholesale carrier, has selected its GeoMesh and Blue Planet solutions to support the launch of a new service over the currently under construction MONET subsea cable.

Angola Cables is a multinational wholesale telcoms carrier that leverages cable systems across the South Atlantic and around Africa. Angola Cables manages the WACS (West Africa Cable System), providing services to operators in Angola and the sub-Saharan region of Africa; it also operates Angonix (Angolan IXP) in its data centre in Luanda, and is building a data centre and interconnection facility in Fortaleza, Brazil.

The 10,556 km route on the MONET cable system, which is scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2017, will provide over 25 Tbit/s of traffic capacity between the U.S. and Latin America via a hub in São Paulo, Brazil. Angola Cables wholesale customers will be able to utilise the additional connectivity to support bandwidth demands from on-demand applications such as over-the-top (OTT) video and cloud computing.

To meet demand for capacity between the U.S. and Latin America, the Ciena 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, equipped with the WaveLogic Ai coherent optical chipset, can provide wavelengths at capacities of 200 Gbit/s and higher between Angola Cables' point of presences without the need for regeneration along the route.

In addition, Ciena's GeoMesh spectrum sharing capability is designed to enable cost-effective connectivity while also allowing wholesale customers to manage traffic on the network without suffering disruption from other users on the open cable system.

Ciena's Blue Planet Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) software and cloud-based SLA portal will help Angola Cables to more effectively manage bandwidth and provide customers with a real-time view of network events that could affect service level agreements.

The 10,556 km MONET Submarine cable is owned by Algar Telecom of Brazil, Angola Cables, ANTEL of Uruguay and Google. The 100 Gbit/s-capable system will provide a low latency route between Brazil and North America and provide a minimum capacity of 60 Tbit/s. In October 2016, TE SubCom announced it had completed the U.S. landing for the submarine cable, which will connect Boca Raton, Florida to Fortaleza and Praia Grande in Brazil, where landings had been completed earlier in the year.

Eutelsat and ViaSat Enter European Broadband JV

Eutelsat Communications and ViaSat entered a partnering arrangement that combines Eutelsat’s established European broadband business with ViaSat’s broadband technology know-how and Internet Service Provider (ISP) business expertise.

The joint venture, which headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, expands Eutelsat’s current wholesale broadband business and launches a new consumer retail service in Europe. The company will consist of two businesses:

Wholesale Services will focus on providing wholesale broadband and mobility services in the European and Mediterranean regions to the newly established retail services business and existing Eutelsat distributors. Eutelsat is contributing its current European broadband business including the KA-SAT satellite to the newly formed entity, owned 51% by Eutelsat. ViaSat has acquired a 49% interest in the business for a consideration of €132.5 million.
Retail Services will focus on offering retail broadband services in the European and Mediterranean regions. Enhanced service plans are expected to be introduced in select European countries from 2017 onwards, setting a foundation for growth in the retail services business with the availability of future satellite capacity. This business is owned 51% by ViaSat and 49% by Eutelsat.

Aricent Enhances ANS for Automation in Virtualised Networks

Aricent, a global technology design and engineering company, has announced new capabilities within its Autonomous Network Solution (ANS), designed to provide intelligent automation for next-generation virtualised networks.

Aricent ANS, based on components complaint with standards including ETSI NFV, ETSI AFI GANA, MEF LSO and TM-Forum Zoom, is designed to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support the network transformation. The company cited two applications for AI in networking: enhancing productivity in development, for example in DevOps for root cause analysis, and to enable the network to become an intelligent, as well as an automated, platform

Aricent's Autonomous Network Solution is designed to support functionality including:

1. Network management and orchestration, providing a platform to define and manage virtual network function (VNF) service chains, policies, resource consumption and performance metrics.

2. Lifecycle service orchestration (LSO), enabling an: intent-based management layer to control physical and virtual network resources utilising both physical network and NFV orchestrators.

3. A self-optimisation framework, based on a bespoke machine learning tool chain that can support multiple use cases, such as predictive defect detection, root cause analysis and low latency network services.

Aricent also announced the launch of Cognitive Services, designed to enhance customer engagement and loyalty leveraging AI. Aricent Cognitive Services span service development, design, strategy and software and hardware development and specifically include data-driven design services and capabilities from frog that support data exploration and machine learning techniques, and CognitiveDrive Train Platform (CDP), designed to enable the assembly and integration of AI services from platforms such as IBM Watson, Amazon, Microsoft and Google ML.